Men's Devotional Previous Weeks

JUNE 25, 2020

I was reminded this week of the first time in the Bible when God calls something bad or harmful. In the account of creation, there is an affirmation following each day; something to the effect, and it was “very good.” Standing in stark contrast we read these words in Genesis 2:18, The Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone…” or as the band Three Dog Night famously sang, “one is the loneliest number,” which was repeated again and again for emphasis. The truth is, we were made for community.

 

Christianity is both a private discipline and a shared experience. Did you realize that there are 59 one another commands in the New Testament? Andy Stanley writes that THE primary activity of the church was 'one-anothering' one another. Consider the partial list below:

 

“…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)

“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)

“…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

“Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)

“…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)

“Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)

“Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)

“Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)

“…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)


And of course, the one that none of us is practicing these days for good reason:

 

“Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Corinthians 16:20)

 

The question I would like for each of us to ask these days—How can I combat isolation and “be” the church during these days of social distancing and COVID 19? While “greeting one another with a holy kiss” is clearly off the table for now, loving each other is not. Nor is bearing one another’s burdens or encouraging one another daily. It is so easy for us to focus on what we “cannot do” that we neglect what we can. To “carry one another’s burdens,” “pray for one another,” or “encourage one another…” will require that we take initiative.  It will mean that we pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t seen in a while. It will unfortunately mean that we join yet another zoom call, only for the purpose of connecting with friends from our LIFEGroup and encouraging each other with God’s truth. It may mean getting together practicing social distancing or sharing prayer needs through online worship. It may mean sending an encouraging e-mail or note to someone you know is struggling.

 

Join me in combating the isolation that many of us are experiencing these days. It is truly not good for us to be alone. Choose one way you can “one another someone today” and do it! Feel free to reach out to me. I would be honored to pray for and with you.

Pastor Chuck

[email protected]

Books on the Desk

JUNE 18, 2020

As a leader and a man, I like the confidence that comes with having a plan and a degree of certainty regarding a course of action. In making decisions, I tend to rely on personal knowledge, expert opinion, and past experiences to form a reasonable plan of action. What happens when past experiences don’t inform our current circumstances?  What happens when expert opinions conflict and certainty has left the building? If this sounds oddly familiar, welcome to 2020.

 

What do we do when we don’t know what to do? Great question. Listen to the inspired words of the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon.

 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 

I love what Warren Wiersbe writes, “All the wisdom a person may acquire can never replace the need for full trust in God’s direction and guidance.” In other words, we never reach a point where trusting God requires us to not learn or change. To trust in the Lord implies more than a nod of acknowledgment to God, but the desire to understand Him better through reading His word. How in the world can we trust in the Lord, if we are not reading the Bible on a regular basis?  Seriously? It is so easy to say we are trusting in the Lord, when the truth is—we are trusting more in the wisdom of Fox News, CNN, or the Wall Street Journal. To lean into the wisdom of God requires that we expose ourselves to biblical truth on a regular basis.

 

It is not easy to break old habits, and the default for many of us is to check the news, or social media, and rush into our day without pausing to hear from God. This reinforces the pattern of making a decision without seeking God first. We end up asking God to bless what we have already decided to do. This habit is hard to break, even for pastors. I challenge you to join me in praying the Proverbs 3:5-6 prayer on a regular basis. Write it down and put it on your computer screen. Memorize these verses.

 

Join me in praying;

 

“Lord Jesus, I choose to trust you today. Help me to not lean on my own understanding, which is lacking, but yours. I submit to you today… and commit to do the next thing that I am reasonably sure you want me to do, trusting that you will direct me today.”

 

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Chuck

JUNE 11, 2020


This week I got back in the swimming pool for the first time in more than three months. I did not pick up where I left off. I will need to train harder in order to return to what I consider a more “normal” speed and distance.  Habit experts tell us that it takes somewhere between six to ten weeks to build a habit like exercise, but 14 days or less to break one. That is why scripture is filled with positive exhortations to not stop doing the things that feed spiritual health and vitality.

 

"Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer." (Hebrews 10:25 GNT)

 

In other words, don’t neglect Christian fellowship. One of my biggest concerns during this pandemic, is that the longer we are apart physically, the more we will tend drift in our connection with God and each other. We are made for community. We need each other and specifically the encouragement we receive from each other. The verse immediately before Hebrews 10:25, stresses that each of us has a responsibility to encourage someone else. 

 

"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works." (Hebrews 10:25)

 

Last time I checked,“let us” means each of us, not some of us. You are not exempt from God’s call to motivate someone else to follow Jesus. Let that sink in. You are responsible to motivate someone else (positively, not negatively).

 

When I think of motivating someone, I think of the act of gracious encouragement. The parent who encourages their child by saying “you can do it!” but will love them just the same if they fall short. I am motivated by someone who both accepts me and pushes me to be better. Who has been that in your life? I think of a college friend who invited me to do a Bible study together. Knowing that he was doing his part each week motivated me to not only show up, but to show up prepared.

 

These days of social distancing provide the perfect excuse for many of us to fade in our involvement, neglect Christian community and disengage in spiritual disciplines like studying scripture and prayer. If we do, we open ourselves up for a season of spiritual atrophy. When you get back in the pool spiritually speaking, you will not be in the shape you were in when you disengaged. I want to encourage each of us to ask ourselves two questions: Who can I motivate to continue pursuing Christ? What are some ways that I might inspire, encourage and motivate them to grow closer to Christ? What I have discovered, is that by focusing on helping someone else, I grow stronger.  

 

Yours in Christ,
 

Chuck

Old Books

JUNE 4, 2020


Names are important. One of the first tasks of parenting is selecting a name for your child. I remember the decision to name my son, Walker. I wanted to name him for my dad, whose name was Charles, but I didn’t want to also give him the name Leander.  (my middle name; as in… Charles Leander Martin III) We landed on Charles Walker. Charles, for my dad. Walker, because our desire is that he “walk” with God. As in Micah 6:8:

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)


Throughout the Bible, we see new names introduced for God that describe various aspects of his nature. For example, King David referred to God as his shepherd (Jehovah Raah) in the Twenty third Psalm. One of my favorite stories behind one of the names for God in the old Testament (El Roi) comes from Genesis 16 and is a name given to God by the Egyptian slave of Sarai, the wife of Abraham. As a result of the jealousy between Hagar and Saria over Hagar’s pregnancy, Sarai mistreated Hagar.  Hagar fled into the wilderness intending to never return. God appeared to her in the wilderness and in response, she gives him the name El Roi, “the God who sees.”

 

Abram takes a hands off approach to the conflict, as we pick up the story in Genesis 16.6

Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; [many Bible scholars believe this was a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ] it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. (Genesis 6:6-13)

 

I have reflected on this passage this past week. Especially in light of the protests and unrest throughout America. The truth is, I have been guilty at times of not wanting to “see” the pain and suffering of others. In this story, God “saw” the mistreatment that Hagar suffered at the hands of her mistress, Sarai. He was not indifferent to Hagar’s plight. Seeing means awareness. Seeing means that we acknowledge something exists. Seeing brings responsibility.

 

I cannot turn away from seeing the officers’ knee on the neck of George Floyd. As a white man who has not personally experienced the racial prejudice of my black brothers, it is easy to “not see”. Yet God calls us to see as he sees. To see racism and mistreatment. To not only see, but to feel. We are called to “mourn with those who mourn.” Seeing opens us up to feeling, identifying with, and mourning with.

 

Bob Pierce, who founded World Vision and later Samaritan’s Purse, is well known for a prayer that he wrote on the fly leaf of his Bible. “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” As a result of praying this simple prayer, God began to stir him to see and become involved in the plight of orphans. I challenge each of us to pray this same prayer and by so doing, God may open our eyes to needs and injustices he would have us address. Praying that each of us would not turn a blind eye, but would see and feel, and act. That we will be the arms and feet of Jesus. To do so, we must first have the eyes to see.


Yours In Christ,
 

Pastor Chuck
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

MAY 28, 2020


The idea of justice is a biblical theme. God is just. It is part of his nature. Following Christ means that we seek to reflect his nature. Jesus provides a beautiful example for us to follow in how to treat people, especially those who are marginalized. Consider how he interacted with the woman of Samaria, tax collectors like Levi, Roman military officers, lepers, and others who were despised and the objects of prejudice in his day. Jesus pursued justice and we are called to do the same.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)


As Christians we are called to work for justice which includes racial justice. Watching the recent video from Minneapolis of a police officer’s knee on the neck of George Floyd, was one more example of the injustice that too many blacks experience in America. I remember a black classmate in seminary recounting his experience of being pulled over and questioned for driving through a Dallas neighborhood to attend a party. This was a party that I also attended without incident.

 

How do we seek justice and correct oppression? For starters, we do so by pointing it out when we see it. In cases like George Floyd, this is pretty obvious and easy. Yet more subtle prejudice and injustice is harder to spot, especially in ourselves. Jesus taught that sin has its’ root in the heart long before it surfaces through ugly words or actions.

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Matthew 15:19 ESV)

 

Jesus went on to say that it was out of the heart that sins grow.
 

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (Luke 4:9-12 NLT)

 

We can add racism to that list.

 

As I reflected on this heart-breaking incident and violence that has unfortunately followed, I have asked myself if there are roots of prejudice in me? Do I turn a blind eye to prejudices, simply because they do not affect me personally?

 

Corrie Ten Boom, herself the victim of injustice of a Nazi concentration camp, writes "The blood of Jesus never cleansed an excuse. When you bring your sins to Him for forgiveness, do not bring your excuses - come honestly in your need of Him.”  Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place.

 

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the secret attitudes or prejudices that you have excused. Confess them and receive his cleansing, but don’t stop there. Commit to work for justice.

Yours In Christ,

Pastor Chuck
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

MAY 21, 2020


Psalm 91 has been a passage that many of us have turned to for comfort during the uncertainty and fear of the current pandemic.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. (Psalm 91 NLT)


While we find these words comforting, we must be careful to not make it say something for our situation that it doesn’t. While the promise of this Psalm seems pretty clear as it states that that God will keep us safe; He will cover us with his wings (protect us) and no plague will come near our home. However, when interpreting scripture, we must be careful to not pull a single scripture out of its context, but to interpret it in light of other passages in the Bible. This was a promise to King David.

 

In fact, taking a passage out of context and claiming it as a promise is exactly what Satan tempted Jesus with while in the wilderness. One of the temptations involved this very passage when Satan quoted Psalm 91.

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’ ” (Luke 4:9-12 NLT)
 

When we claim Psalm 91 as promising to protect us from all suffering, we take it out of context and set ourselves up for disillusionment with God. When we inevitably face suffering, which Jesus said we would, we will claim that we can’t believe or trust the Bible. Psalm 91 was God’s promise to David to keep him from harm; it is not a blanket promise to us. We need to look at Psalm 91 in light of the wider teaching of scripture. For example, Jesus clearly taught that we would face trials and suffering in this life.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”.  (John 16:33 NLT)
 

Remember that God promises to work in all things for the good, not that all things will be good.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

 

God clearly uses suffering and hardship for our good. Towards the end of the story of Joseph in Psalm 51, he looks back on the suffering that he experienced at the hands of his brothers who had sold him into slavery twenty years earlier and says, “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” Joseph acknowledges the suffering but recognized that God had a good purpose for him through the suffering. In a sense, God was keeping him safe (spiritually speaking) by causing him to have to trust him through suffering. God was maturing him and worked through his circumstances and ultimately kept his family safe through the famine.

 

In Luke 21, Jesus is preparing his disciples for the difficulties that they would face. He promises that, “not a hair of your head will perish,” despite the fact that some of them will be betrayed and put to death.

 

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish.” (Luke 21:16-18 NIV)

 

The principle, and promise, of Psalm 91 is not that we can claim it to avoid suffering, but that we can take shelter under the wings of God. We can indeed find our refuge in him, but it is a refuge “in trouble” not from it. As we find our ultimate hope and security in Christ, we can live in uncertain days without fear. He is with us and is working for the good in our lives.

Yours In Christ,

 

Pastor Chuck
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

Old Book

MAY 14, 2020


When I was a kid growing up, one of my parents’ frequent pieces of advice was, “Don’t let them upset you.”  This advice often revolved around the older boys who seemed to enjoy teasing me and would often choose me last when picking teams. What my parents were teaching me, was that I was responsible for “how” I reacted. I had a choice. “Don’t fall into their trap; Keep your chin up;” and, “Go about your business.” Really good advice, looking back. In John 14, Jesus gives some similar advice to his disciples to prepare them for the fact that he would soon leave them.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14 NIV)


Did you catch his opening words? “Do not let your hearts be troubled”…


Jesus is saying we have a choice. While we do not control troubling circumstances, and we cannot control the choices and actions of others, bullies will at times try to make life difficult. One of the best pieces of advice that I read early on in this Covid19 pandemic was offered by Henry Cloud on a Facebook live event for church leaders. He encouraged us to make a list of the things creating stress, which are beyond our control. It is okay to complain about them and even grieve them, but “don’t let them control you.”


Instead, give them to God and focus on “what we can control,” which is how we respond. Jesus was telling his disciples something that we need to constantly remind ourselves of. Giving into fear and worry, is a choice. “Do not let your hearts be troubled” sounds a lot like what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount…

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
 

The question we must ask ourselves is this: How am I allowing worries over the circumstances that I control, or the people I don’t control, rob me of experiencing God’s peace today? Why not identify those things and then give them to God? As one of Jesus' closest followers, Peter, would later write…

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)
 

As men, too often we feel that carrying the weight of worry is being responsible. It is not. As Jesus said in John 14, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” In other words, trust me. Carrying around a troubled heart is not a sign of responsibility or concern, but a lack of faith.

 

Praying you will continue to identify the source of your worries, and as you do, give to God those you have no control over. That’s not only responsible, it’s being obedient to Christ’s command:

 

Do not let your heart by troubled, believe in God, believe also in me.

 ​
 

Pastor Chuck
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

MAY 7, 2020

How has COVID-19 affected your daily routine? If you are like me, the changes have been numerous and not all to my liking. For example, I miss seeing my coworkers and the separation of defined spaces for work and home. Working from home has blurred these distinctions. For some of you, this is not something new. I find myself changing clothes at the end of the “work day” to help distinguish when I am working or not (it seems to help). I could go on, but I will spare you my list of complaints and instead mention one of the things I am doing now that I find very enjoyable. For the record, it’s not zoom calls.

 

I have started listening to books while I jog. Yes, I have started jogging again since the pool has been closed. While I have listened to podcasts over the years, this is a new thing for me. I enjoy non-fiction and my most recent books have been autobiographies. Two of the autobiographies were read by the author themselves, which seemed to add an even more personal dimension to the message. There is something about hearing the author read their “own words” in their “own voice” that makes it seem like they are speaking directly to me. Which raises a question: Is this how I approach the Bible? Do I realize that it is God who is speaking—directly to me?

 

If not, why not? The Bible is God’s personal revelation to each of us.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT)


While the individual books of the Bible reflect the life, experience, personality, and voice of the writer—each were inspired and directed by God. It is not just their words, but is His word.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)
 

Did you catch the last statement? Unlike the biographies I have listened to, God’s word penetrates and reveals what is in my heart. It serves as a mirror to show me what is going on inside. As I learn to recognize the voice of God in scripture, I will sense a greater connection with Him and greater clarity on how he would have me behave.
 

Unlike the audible books on my iPhone, I know that God desires for me to know him personally. During these crazy days where many voices compete for our attention, it is my prayer that you will carve out time daily to read and reflect on scripture, asking God to speak to you. As you do so, you will learn to listen to his voice as it is delivered through the prophets and writers of scripture. My daily practice is to start each morning with a short reading from scripture and a good cup of coffee. I keep a journal nearby and write down what I sense him saying to me for that day. I want to encourage you to do the same.

 

Yours in Christ,
 

Pastor Chuck
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

APRIL 30, 2020

The Coronavirus Pandemic has impacted so many facets of life in such a relatively short period of time. Besides the natural fear associated with a virus that can kill you, our work, finances, routines, social interactions and normal schedules have been and are being profoundly impacted. I don’t know about you, but I for one - like a predictable schedule. When sudden and profound change is forced upon me, I don’t like it. In fact, I find myself wanting a break.

 

One of the ways I find myself escaping is to turn to my phone to check the latest news or to be distracted or entertained. Smart phones are designed to keep you engaged. Maybe you reach for your phone to check e-mail or texts and while you are there, check Facebook as well. One article I read states that on average, we check our phones once every 6 ½ minutes. Why so often?


For some of us it is just a habit. For others it is a reflection of the desire to escape our current circumstances. I have a better option to offer.

“Seek the LORD and his strength;  seek his presence continually!”  (1 Chronicles 16:11)


Notice, how the writer of scripture included the little word “continually.” Unlike the habitual checking of our phone, constantly reminding ourselves of God’s presence, power, and goodness in our lives brings contentment and peace. One of my mom’s favorite verses was Isaiah 26:3.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (Isaiah 26:3)

Or as the Apostle Paul encourages us to do in Thessalonians chapter five.


Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
 

Paul is encouraging us to develop “habitual gratitude” and Habitual prayer. I don’t know about you, but that means that I need to make prayer and praise more of a reflex in my life. Kind of like checking my phone. One thing that helps me is to set reminders on my phone. I have a couple, but probably need more. Another thing I have started doing  when I check Facebook, is to pray for the friends whose posts I read. Doing this helps in a couple of ways. First, it snaps me out of mindlessly scrolling. Second, it reminds me that God has called me to something more than self-absorption and entertainment, but to love him and be a blessing to others.

 

Yours in Christ,
 

Pastor Chuck
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

APRIL 22, 2020


The movie “Ground Hog Day” featuring Bill Murray is one of my personal favorites. In the film, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a television weatherman who is forced to live the same day over and over again. Many of us feel like Phil Connors these days with shelter in place. If you are like me, you look forward to being able to eat at your favorite restaurant, go back to church, the gym, the movies, even the dentist. Maybe not the dentist… The truth is, we miss our regular routines. The question I want you to consider, is this: “What routines do you plan to carry over when “shelter in place” is lifted?” For many of us this season has removed many of the distractions and hindrances to daily Bible reading and prayer, family walks, or even engaging in worship (via livestream) more consistently.

 

I want to encourage you to establish and solidify daily and weekly practices that will continue to feed your soul and build your family life, once this lifts. Don’t assume returning to “life as normal” is God’s will for you. In Matthew eleven, Jesus invites us to “learn from Him”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)


To learn from Jesus means to follow his example. This requires that we engage in the same activities Jesus did. When you see the phrase “as usual” it refers to something repeated. In other words, a habit.

When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures." (Luke 4:16 NLT)


Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46 NLT)
 

Habits provide the underlying structure to life. What habits do you want to start during these days or continue over once this season passes? Jesus invites us to learn from him with the promise that by so doing we will find rest for our souls. The rest of Christ is found in the following of Christ.

 

Praying that you rediscover a better way of doing life during these days!

 

Pastor Chuck

APRIL 15, 2020


How are you being 'sifted' these days?
 

In biblical days when a crop like wheat was harvested, the grain would be extracted through a process called winnowing, or sifting. The harvested wheat would be separated from the hull or chaff so that what was valuable could be harvested. The result would be that the wind would carry away the chaff leaving only the valuable grain left behind. In many ways, I believe that is what is happening during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are being forced to reevaluate our priorities and determine what is truly important to us.

 

For all of us, “sheltering in home” has necessitated the elimination of non-essential activities and forced us to spend time at home. A lot of time at home. For many of us, we have had to learn new work and school patterns. We are eating meals at home and taking walks with our families. Organized sports have stopped, allowing us to throw the frisbee, play board games and learn to cook new recipes with our spouse or children. Many of us are rediscovering some things that were buried under the category of “when things settle down”… Things have settled down. We have time to read the Bible and pray. We have time to talk with our spouse and children.

 

While there are many things that we miss during these days, it is my prayer that we will rediscover the important things that we neglected prior to Covid19. It is my prayer that on the other side of shelter in place, each of us would have greater clarity on the “chaff” in our lives and relationships, and what is truly “grain.” One of the passages that helps me determine what is good in life from what is best, is Philippians 4:8.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8 NIV)


Think about what you currently miss from our “normal lives” and ask yourself “why?” What were the time-consuming activities that seem much less urgent and important these days? What were the “life-giving” ones that should be resumed? It is my prayer that God is using these days as a “reset” … that our hearts and our schedules will reflect what he is teaching us about what is important.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33 NIV)


Yours in Christ,

Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

APRIL 9, 2020


Today is Maundy Thursday. If you are like me and did not grow up in a liturgical church, the word Maundy is not one you are familiar with. It comes from the Latin word “to command” and reminds us of the command Jesus gave his disciples on their last night together. As the disciples gathered to celebrate what would be their last meal together, none of them were willing to serve the others and perform the menial task of “foot washing.”

 

“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:1)

This must have been embarrassing to the disciples as they realized that one of them should have volunteered for the task. Jesus used this opportunity to teach them about servant leadership. Some churches practice foot washing on the day before Good Friday as a way to identify with Jesus and practice humility. If you have ever washed someone’s feet or had your feet washed, it is a very personal and humbling act. More than the specific action, Jesus was demonstrating the attitude of humility that God is looking for in us. Peter initially resisted allowing Jesus to wash his feet, but later wrote these words in 1 Peter chapter 5.
 

“...In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  (1 Peter 5:5-6 NIV)


As we move towards Good Friday and Easter, I want to encourage you to reflect on the humility and sacrifice of Jesus. When you hear the term “Maundy Thursday” remember His object lesson of service.

“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”  (John 13:12-19 NIV)

Now for the command. Immediately following the object lesson, Jesus gave his disciples and us a command.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  (John 13:34 NIV)


Jesus could have said that his followers would be identified by any number of religious activities or practices such as prayer, attending worship, or even giving. He didn’t. Each of these can be practiced with wrong motives and a proud heart. Instead he gave us a moving example of humble service and reminded us that although man looks at outward appearances, God looks on the heart. (1 Sam 16:7) May God produce a renewed love for Him and others as we reflect on His great love for us.

 

Looking forward to Easter!

Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

APRIL 1, 2020


King David asks a great question in the opening verse of Psalm 27.


“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27 ESV)

If you are like me, it seems that there is a lot to be fearful of during this Pandemic. Recent projections of the number of people that might contract and possibly die from COVID 19 are a sober reminder of the uncertainty of today.  Yet, I  am reminded that previous generations faced dangers no less daunting. My parents, like the generation of C.S. Lewis, faced the threat of Nazi Germany and nuclear holocaust during the cold war. Lewis wrote of the fear of his day and reminded his generation that human life has always faced uncertainty and danger. (Insert COVID 19/Pandemic for atomic bomb/atomic age as you read this excerpt.)

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb (COVID 19). “How are we to live in an atomic age (Pandemic)?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

 

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb (COVID 19) was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

 

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb (COVID 19), let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs (viruses). They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.


The point Lewis was making is that the danger of our day is not something new to life on this planet. Life has always been uncertain and prone to disease and disaster. Unfortunately, it is the nature of living in a fallen world affected by the curse of sin. Death is a certainty, no matter our current circumstances. It’s not if, but rather when and how each of us will die. This does not mean that we have to live dominated by fear. Living in fear, no matter the age in which we live, is no way to live. God has not given us a spirit of fear, and while the threats are real and must be taken seriously, we do not need to live in constant fear.
 

“...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”  (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)


It is my prayer that you will give your fears and anxious thoughts to God and ask that he replace them with his peace. These are uncertain days, but so were the days of Paul. I am reminded of the words he wrote in Romans 8 to remind us of God’s presence and love in times of uncertainty.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?... (you can add COVID 19) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:35-39 ESV)
 

So do as Paul challenges us to do in Philippians, as he writes from prison.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

 

Praying that you will experience his peace in the midst of these trying days.


Yours in Christ,

Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

MARCH 25, 2020


So much has changed in the last couple of weeks to upset our sense of “normal.” Two weeks ago Kim and I were enjoying a long anticipated Spring Break trip to see our daughter Emily in Gottingen Germany. I started getting messages asking if we were okay and on our way back to Texas. As I checked news on my phone, I discovered that President Trump was closing the country to flights from Europe. Thankfully, the travel ban did not include US citizens. Needless to say, last Wednesday began a cascade of information and decisions that none of us anticipated needing to make.

 

Now many or most of us find ourselves working from home under “shelter in place” navigating a myriad of uncertainties associated with Coronavirus. We have never experienced anything quite like this pandemic. Covid19 has brought unprecedented global change in ways we could not foresee. None of us can set a clear timeline for when we will resume something approaching “normal.” This is our current reality.

 

Thankfully, God is with us and for us, even in this… or especially in times like this. We did not choose this trial, but we can choose how we will respond. I am reminded of the words of Jim Stockdale, an American General captured during the Vietnam War. He was held prisoner for seven years undergoing torture, isolation and mental and physical brutality. He is known for something called the “Stockdale Paradox” which says that great leadership embraces both the real and the ideal. In other words, it deals with reality, but does not lose hope.

 

I am also reminded of the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4.


“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1NIV)

Did you catch that…Paul is writing from prison in circumstances not of his choosing and beyond his control, but he did not lose heart. He goes on to write:

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. ” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NIV)


He is realistic about the difficulties. He admits that he doesn’t have all the answers and gives a realistic assessment of his situation. He embraces REALISM, yet he does not give into despair or depression.

 

He affirms that God’s power is at work in his situation. Can you? One of the many byproducts of our current situation is that families are reconnecting. I see more of my neighbors walking together, eating meals at home. Doing life more closely as a family. Priorities are being re-examined. With the loss of some of the things that distract us, many of us are listening to God with “ears that hear” (as Jesus was fond of saying in the Gospels). God has our attention. It is my prayer that he will increasingly have more of our hearts. Most of us are seeing the importance of community with greater clarity these days. We miss our friends, church community and normal social interactions. This is a good reminder that God has made us for connection with Him and each other.

 

Paul ends this great passage with the following words:
 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

WE DO NOT LOSE HEART. We see our current challenges with realism, but also realize that they are temporary. Paul chooses to FIX his eyes on Christ, and not the circumstances beyond his control. In other words, he doesn’t lose hope.

 

I challenge you to respond as Paul. Cast your cares on God. Admit the difficulty of the circumstances but also look up. God is with you and for you and will give you his strength. Isaiah 41:10 has become one of my favorite verses in recent days.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

So deal with today’s challenges realistically without losing Hope. God is with us, and we are going to get through this! Hope to be together again sooner versus later!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

MARCH 18, 2020

It is day four of my self-quarantine after returning from Germany to see my daughter. As I reflect on how the world has been turned upside down in recent days, it is amazing that something microscopic like a virus can literally disrupt the world. We have all become acutely aware of this tiny microbe called “Coronavirus.” In fact, the term coronavirus is the most searched word in the world, right now.  As we take extreme and appropriate action to halt the spread of this virus, I pray that we will all look for opportunities to spread a different kind of virus. The viral message called the Gospel of Jesus. Rather than bringing death, it brings life and proclaims the good news that we are saved by grace and not by works.


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17 NIV)

I encourage you to choose faith over fear. Cast your cares and uncertainty on God. He has not moved. His promises stand firm. I am reminded of Jesus’ words to his disciples in the upper room.

 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)


I encourage you to be smart, follow appropriate directives. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing, but also look for opportunities to spread a different kind of virus, the hope of the gospel of Jesus!

The words of C.S. Lewis come to mind.
“Jesus came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life found only in Him — by what I call the "good infection." [C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity]

 

May our faith in Jesus thrive and become increasingly infectious during these crazy days!

 

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church


P.S. If you do not have a daily devotion that you are currently doing, join me for a six day study called Trust Through Trial by Ryan Meadows. It's on the You Version Bible app. Here is the link: https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/14570-trust-through-the-trials/

MARCH 12, 2020


I am visiting my daughter Emily this week (Spring Break) in Frankfurt, Germany. While I am very proud of our girl, Kim and I both wish she were living on this side of the pond. Letting go as a parent is another reminder that we are not in control. Our children are on loan. They are entrusted to us, but ultimately not controlled by us… at least beyond the early years.
 

That being the case, I want to encourage those of you to realize you have a window of opportunity with your kids. You have a season to set a credible example of faith and lay a foundation with your child. A season to talk about God and his place in your life, while they are impressionable. The season to build a heart connection with your kids is shorter than you think. I discovered that walks together, drive time (ferrying Emily to classes and practices) and our nightly “tuck ins” were the best time to talk to Emily about life. She is a deep thinker and loves discussing theology and philosophy, which is fun for me. We see a beautiful picture of what this can look like from Moses’ challenge in Deuteronomy 6.


“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.’ (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NLT)

If you will build trust and establish a heart connection with your child, then when they are wrestling with the big issues of life, you will be someone they turn to. Last week, as I talked with Emily about our time together this week, she let me know some of the things she is wrestling with in life. More than any sights we will see in Frankfurt or Berlin, I look forward to talking with my daughter about life. Life is short, men. Figure out how to connect with each of your children. You will be glad you did.

​​​

Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

FEBRUARY 27, 2020

A message from Pastor Chuck:

I thoroughly enjoyed our time together Sunday night, and appreciate your willingness to engage via weekly text. I am convinced that we are experiencing something called “an epidemic of loneliness” in our culture. This is especially true among men. (Check out this short article: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/church-respond-loneliness-epidemic/).

 

Loneliness is an unsurprising symptom of our individualistic society. Yet, we all need male friends, and most specifically---male friends who are striving to follow Jesus. That is why our time together Sunday night felt so refreshing. I want to encourage you to reach out to another Christian man before Monday and set a breakfast or lunch for the purpose of encouraging each other.

 

"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." (Proverbs 27:17 NLT)

 

What I hope to do via this text, is send a weekly challenge or word of encouragement. This may include a scripture that spoke to me, an article that made me think, and sometimes a prayer request that is important to me. 
 

One more thing, if you do not have a daily devotion that you are currently involved with, I want to invite you to join me for a seven day men’s study through You Version called “Play the Man” by Mark Batterson. That’s right. 7 days. Anyone can do seven days. Here is the link to join me. https://bible.com/p/23941936/c4e0a9cc184ddf511bb82bc25fd3d27c

If you have any problems with above links, simply copy and paste the URL into your internet browser. And if you have any other questions about how to join the study, please shoot me an email at [email protected].
 

Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

MARCH 5, 2020


Life has a way of interrupting the illusion that we are in control. For many of us, (self-included) this is an unwelcome reality. Over the past week, I have been confronted with this reality more than once. Coronavirus for example, the fears of a possible pandemic affecting large gatherings of people… Easter comes to mind. As men, we do our best to plan and prepare as (James instructs us) with the understanding that life is not really in our control.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil" (James 4:13-16 NIV)

 

I draw comfort in the fact that although life is not in my control, it does not mean that God is not in control. We need not be paralyzed with fear or be stuck in a paralysis of indecision. God is with us and for us. Humbly take your plans and requests before God and act with the assurance that He is with you and will give you the wisdom and grace to adjust as needed.

 

In the parable of the talents, Jesus chastised the one who received one talent for making excuses rather than taking prudent action.


[The Parable of the Talents] “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:14-30 ESV)

The point of the parable is that life is a gift to steward. We don’t control the future, but we are responsible for doing something with what God has given us. Don’t talk yourself out of doing what God leads you to do. Have the hard conversation, take the risk, share your faith, invite that co-worker to church, invest well. It’s all in His hands, anyway. Therefore, we are praying for, planning for, and working towards having 3,000 people join us for Easter this year. Will you join me in praying and inviting towards that end?

 

If so, would you comment below or email me at [email protected] to let me know?

​​

Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

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